While making these Finnish cookies the other day, I was reminded of the butter cookies of my childhood. It’s funny to think about it now, but when we were growing up, there was nothing more chic than receiving a gift of store-bought Danish butter cookies in their trademark round blue tin. Each type of cookie was stacked in little paper cups and my favourites were the plain round ones studded with very dry, chewy currants and a piped cookie topped with granulated sugar.
I was never really good at pacing myself when it came to munching cookies, so if you were in the house at the time, you may have caught me making many sneaky trips into the kitchen to pinch just one more snack from the tin. And if you were really clever (unlike me), you’d take a different cookie each time so the stacks of cookies always appeared unchanged, thus preventing you from getting into trouble for pilfering.
But I never was wily enough in that regard. Instead, I resolved to learn how to bake, so I could eat more cookies!
These Finnish teaspoon cookies are as homely looking as they are memorable. Very, in both regards. Make a batch of these and sneak at least one from the kitchen per day.
Finnish Teaspoon Cookies (Lusikkaleivät) :
(makes 4 dozen cookies; the measurements are in US cup measures; from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas)
1 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg yolk
strawberry jam [I used cherry jam]
In a small heavy saucepan, brown the butter over medium to low heat until it is a pale tan colour. Cool. Pour into a mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar and vanilla. Combine flour and baking soda and gradually add to the butter mixture. Stir until the mixture is uniformly crumbly. Blend in the egg yolk and knead until dough is smooth.
Preheat oven to 160’C. To shape a cookie, press dough firmly into a teaspoon. Tap side of spoon onto a lined baking sheet to gently remove the shaped cookie. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes until just barely browned. Allow to cool right on the baking sheet.
Spread jam on the flat side of each cookie. Add a second cookie to form an almond-shaped sandwich. Using a sieve, dust the cookies with powdered sugar. The flavor improves after the cookies have been stored at least 2 days, and they can be frozen.